Thursday, August 19, 2021

Quantum physics, coordination and removing impediments

 Not everything is a "project", but there are other tasks that a PjM can do to move things along.

Some recent observations:

Observer Effect 

Sometimes a "job"needs to be done, but is stalled. Simply assigning a PjM to the job can get  the ball rolling.

Recently I was assigned to "get this job done". I had no idea what it was, but by the time I had gathered together a team on Slack, and the team added a few more necessary members, the task was done.

Simply getting the correct people to talk to each other was 90% of the job.

A while ago I took an orphan task that had started way before I started at the company. By simply asking where it's holding and what needs to be done, gave the actors the incentive to finish the task and roll it out.

Unclear what's at work here; maybe it's the Observer Effect - "Physicists have found that observation of quantum phenomena can actually change the measured results of this experiment."


Sometimes a job - or even a project - requires multiple teams to work in serial. The handover from one team to the next is often stalled until a PjM steps up and makes it happen.

This is less apparent - and less needed - when teams work together; the coordination is built in at design time and during the kick-off stage.

Removing impediments

Removing impediments is another PjM speciality. A team may be stuck because they are missing equipment, or a 3rd party license or an outside contractor. 

A PjM sometimes needs to step in, discover what is missing and then remove the impediment: go to finance to get the requirement purchased, or the CTO to get permission to hire a contractor. Barely Project management, but very necessary for getting things done.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

"A meeting without minutes is a kumzitz"

 "A meeting without minutes is a kumzitz"

                                    - Danny Schoemann

What do you think of my new philosophy? How useful are meetings if nobody keeps track of what is being discussed, what the action items come up and without follow-up from the previous meeting?

Even when schedules and Kanbans are being updated in real-time during meetings, I still believe that meeting minutes are important, for example for those who aren't present or for historical perspective.